The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers, Digital Edition > My Day
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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LOS ANGELES—Curiously enough, the demonstration Wednesday evening at the Democratic convention was loudest for Adlai Stevenson. The votes of the delegates—or rather the votes of their leaders—were, however, for Sen. John F. Kennedy. So, now the Democrats will unite behind a candidate who won on the first ballot, thus making this a very short convention so far as the Presidential nomination is concerned. And as I am writing this, Sen. Lyndon B. Johnson has accepted the bid of Senator Kennedy to be his running mate in the election to be decided in November.

I have always thought that demonstrations were a waste of time and money, but I am glad we did have the Stevenson demonstration because it was a really spontaneous outpouring of people. They had come as volunteers in many cases, to work for the candidate they believed in.

If you work for what you believe in and put up a good fight, winning is of secondary importance. You would like to win, of course, but if you lose you have the satisfaction of knowing that you have done your best. Now we can turn to future decisions and work for what we feel is right and important.

Personally, the one real pleasure I have in this particular situation is that my three boys, at least, can be happy over their victory, and I am sure that they will work hard to elect their candidate.

There is something not quite representative in the way we choose delegates to our Presidential conventions, and I think this is probably also true of our state conventions. Thousands of telegrams have poured in from the various people working for Stevenson throughout the country. I received one that interested me very much. It came from Nassau County on Long Island and it said, "One thousand telegrams support Adlai Stevenson have gone to Nassau County New York delegates in past two days."

This was certainly not visible in the vote of the New York state delegation. Only Senator Herbert Lehman and Mr. Thomas K. Finletter and our small reform group voted for Mr. Stevenson. The chairman of the delegation delivered the other votes as he chose. Now it will be interesting to see whether our New York state organization can carry the state for the Democratic ticket in November.

New York should be a Democratic state, but delegates who are captive do not always represent the feeling of the voters. This is a challenge to the New York state and city organizations and, I think, to the people of New York. Will such delegates vote in the future to free themselves from having their votes cast for them, and will they work really to express the sentiment of the people they represent? Can a group of leaders, who pay no attention to what I am sure is the majority will of the people of their state, carry their state? This will be a most interesting situation to watch during the coming campaign.

Only one of my boys lives in New York state. One of them will represent the state of Colorado and one California, so all in all they will pretty well cover the country. My Republican son will work hard for his nominee, I am sure. But he will have a more difficult task.

There is a great deal of my uncle Theodore Roosevelt in me, I think, for I really enjoy a good fight, and those of us who fought for Stevenson fought a good fight. For a while, we set aside all the other things we are working for. But now I return to the wider interests which are, perhaps, of greater importance although they have been overshadowed by the convention.

A really epoch-making decision was taken by the United Nations Security Council on Wednesday. The U.N. is sending an emergency force to keep order, if possible, in the Belgian Congo.

The U.N. is also going to be called upon, I am sure, to do something in the present situation between the Soviet Union and ourselves. If our claim is true and the Soviets are shooting down planes that really have not crossed the border, then it is good that we have a U.N. Security Council where we can take our differences. We can be grateful for this machinery and hope that it will function efficiently and well. Otherwise, it might be that nuclear war would be far closer than is comfortable to contemplate.

I wish we could, in countries all over the world, reach a situation in which we could honestly say, "Under no circumstances will there be a resort to nuclear war. We have the machinery and we agree to submit all international difficulties to the United Nations and to abide by the decision rendered there."

Only in this way can the world's people have the assurance that they will not be destroyed overnight, and only by such agreement can we be sure of putting our major strength into the prevention of war and the finding of the road to peaceful agreement—no matter how serious the problems between countries may be.


(Copyright, 1960, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)

Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, July 15, 1960

Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
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Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project The George Washington University 312 Academic Building 2100 Foxhall Road, NW Washington, DC 20007

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Transcription created from a photocopy of a UFS wire copy of a My Day column instance archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.